Brian Giles, "Show Me The Money" Sweepstakes

The Padres have the exclusive rights to free agent outfielder Brian Giles until November the 11th. Waiting in the wings, ready to join in the Brian Giles sweepstakes, are the St. Louis Cardinals, Cleveland Indians and a host of others.

Brian Giles, considered perhaps the best outfielder on the free agent market this year, has filed for free agency, because the Padres failed to meet his contract demands.

"I will say that our primary goal all along has been to get Brian re-signed with the San Diego Padres, and nothing has changed as far as that goal is concerned," Giles' agent Joe Bick said. "But things have moved kind of slow, which is fine. I'm not criticizing that. But now they have put themselves into a position where we're allowed to talk to other people."

According to sources close to the negotiations, Bick and Giles had submitted an offer to the Padres, asking for a deal for three years for $30 million dollars, for the 35 year old outfielder to stay in San Diego and forgo testing the free agency waters.

The Padres countered with a three year, $21 million dollar offer, that Bick described as not even being close.

For those of you who may be a little confused about the whole free agent process, join the team. It can get confusing and complicated to say the least.

Right now, teams have the exclusive right to sign their own free agents until, November 11. Other teams have the right to contact the agents of free-agent players and they can negotiate about everything except the financial terms of a contract.

After November 11, it's open season and the "Show Me the Money" sweepstakes begins.

Teams that are expected to join in the fray for the services of Giles, that is going to look like a WWF Battle Royal or at least like a Blue Light Special, at K-Mark, include the considered front runners, St. Louis Cardinals and the Cleveland Indians. While these two teams would seem to have the early edge in signing Giles, other teams like the Boston Red Sox, Minnesota Twins in the American League and the Los Angeles Dodgers in the National League could snatch Giles from grasp of the Cards or Indians.

Giles has indicated his desire to stay in San Diego and one would have to think, if everything was equal in terms of contract offers, he would choose to stay in California.

There had been some speculation that the Padres might try to bring Brian's brother, Atlanta's second baseman, Marcus Giles to San Diego to help close the deal. Brian has indicated in the past, he would like to play on the same team with his brother. If the Padres can get Marcus, it could help in keeping Brian,the team's MVP to stay with the Padres.

Personally, I'm not sure that his brother is enough to close the $9 million dollar gap between Giles and his agent's proposal and the counter offer from the Padres. For $9 million dollars, if they wanted to play together, they could always go out in their own back yards and play catch with each other.

I mean, I love my brother, but for $9 million dollars, I'll play ball with you.

Of course we know that usually the first offer and counter offer is not going to be the final numbers inked in the final contract, but $9 million dollars is a big gap.

For the record, Giles hit .301 (164-for-545) with 15 homers and 83 RBI this year. He hit 38 doubles, eight triples and led the big leagues with 119 walks. The Cardinals would expect him to come in and play in right field in the place of the departing, retiring Larry Walker. Walker hit .289 (91-315) with 15 homers and 52 RBI this year. Larry hit 20 doubles, 1 triple, walked just 41 times.

Giles certainly has to be considered an upgrade over the retiring 38 year old Larry Walker. Giles had an on base percentage of .423, significantly higher than Walker's .384 OBP.

There is some concern about the drop off in Giles' home run production. Giles hit 23 home runs in 2004 for the Padres, after averaging 33 home runs in five seasons with the Pittsburgh Pirates.

The spacious outfield of Petco Park, 402 foot left-field alley, 411 right field alley, is partly the blame for a drop off in home runs, but don't expect him to hit 35+ homers again, anywhere.

The Cardinals have indicated their interest in Giles, in the past. The Cardinals had considered making a deal for the outfielder near this year's trading deadline.

Giles demand for a three year, $30 million dollar contract will probably knock St. Louis out of the bidding war. My take is, the three year deal for $21 million, that the Padres proposed, was probably very close to what the Cardinals would ante up for Giles.

The Cleveland Indians, considered one of the other front runners in the hunt for Giles have talked with his agent this week. "We've had a couple early inquiries from the Indians," said Joe Bick, Giles agent. "There is some degree of interest there that we'll explore further."

Giles came up through the Indians organization and played for Cleveland from 1995-1998 and it's possible he could return to his baseball roots there in 2006.

The Boston Red Sox, Oakland A's and Los Angeles Dodgers, are among the other teams that could have some interest in making offers for Giles.

The Padres are still hoping they can get a deal done with Giles. Along with closer Trevor Hoffman, Giles and Hoffman are considered as the team's principal priorities, the Padres' management team has extended initial contract offers to their closer and right fielder with the hopes of keeping both valuable performers in the fold.

"They are our focus right now -- not that we're overlooking our other [potential] free agents," Padres general manager Kevin Towers said.

With this much interest in Giles, the laws of supply and demand will drive up the asking price for the 35 year old outfielder, whose best playing days are probably behind him. St. Louis may have to look at other options to find someone to play in right field next season, it's doubtful they will meet the current $30 million, three year demand for Giles.

I can hear Giles now, "Show Me (More) Money"


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